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Thread: Taubes and Resistance Training page

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    Apex Predator's Avatar
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    Taubes and Resistance Training

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    I had 2 hours to kill the other day, so I read through Why We Get Fat at the local BN. (I knew going in that Taubes wasn't a particular favorite of mine, but since so many people love him, I wanted to at least read his short book.) One thing that jumped out at me was that, if I remember correctly, all the studies he cites on exercise were on "cardio", which is logical given the premise of the book. Does anyone know if he has commented on resistance training in either GCBC or any interviews? Since good heavy resistance training helps achieve the specific goals he lists, i.e. insulin sensitivity and sensitizing muscles to nutrient inflow, I was interested in whether he had an opinion, especially since a lot of people seem to be influenced by his books in deciding on whether to exercise.

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    from an interview:

    My take is that it has little or no effect on fat accumulation, and that lean people exercise because they’re lean; they don’t become lean by exercising. I do think it’s good for us, and it may even make us healthier in the short and the long run — although those assumptions could use some rigorous testing. I am a longtime jock myself and a devotee of no–pain–no–gain type gym workouts and hikes. But I just don’t think it makes a damn bit of difference when it comes to long–term fat accumulation. And this has been demonstrated time and again in clinical trials since the 1980s, and can be understood down to a molecular, enzymatic level, if anyone cares to look at the evidence. As I explain in my books, what exercise does is make you hungry. It doesn’t make you lean. Remember the concept of “working up an appetite?” Well, that’s what you do when you work out: You work up an appetite.
    One caveat here, though. Every time I say publicly that I don’t think exercise has any meaningful effect on fat accumulation — and by exercise, in this context, I really mean increasing energy expenditure — my friends in the strength–training community reprimand me for what they think is compelling evidence that resistance training can induce fat loss, specifically in the context of low–carbohydrate diets. This may indeed be true, but I haven’t seen enough evidence personally to say it is. And even though I don’t believe it’s a lack of resistance training that causes us to get fat in the first place, it’s possible, and I’d like to avoid the usual e–mails from my friends, so I want to mention it here.


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    Taubes also doesn't say exercise is bad for you, and he says that it does have other benefits. He just says that there's no solid evidence for it helping fat loss specifically. There are more reasons to work out than just losing body fat.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    Quote Originally Posted by batty View Post
    from an interview:
    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Owly View Post
    Taubes also doesn't say exercise is bad for you, and he says that it does have other benefits. He just says that there's no solid evidence for it helping fat loss specifically. There are more reasons to work out than just losing body fat.
    +1

    Exercising for a reduction in bodyfat specifically is another throwback from CW - it belongs with calorie counting, fat burning zones and lycra.

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    Awesome post! Thanks for the info Batty.

    Yeah, Taubes's focus is how the body accumulates fat. And he wants to get people off the treadmill if that's their primary purpose since it only works to make you hungrier.

    Speaking of hungry, where's my salami?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owly View Post
    Taubes also doesn't say exercise is bad for you, and he says that it does have other benefits. He just says that there's no solid evidence for it helping fat loss specifically. There are more reasons to work out than just losing body fat.
    +2

    People get all wrapped around the axle over everything Taubes says, or doesn't say.

    The summary above is exactly right. He is de-bunking the exercise as an effective weight loss strategy. He's not saying that no one should do it. If you have extra weight and want to do something about it, follow a diet like PB and don't expect to just "work it off."

    One of my own criticisms of Taubes books is that it is not clear enough about these things. People are getting all worked up over nothing sometimes. Maybe Taubes likes the fussing, I don't know.

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    I found he was clearer about exercise in GCBC, but I preferred that one in general. I like the more seriously scientific tone and citations as compared to WWGF. I think WWGF is probably a good intro for people who don't read journal articles and such on a regular basis, though. But it does seem to mislead people into thinking that exercise isn't good for you, rather than just helping them understand that the calorie burn counter on the elliptical means pretty much nothing in terms of fat loss.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    My diet takes care of the fat loss. I lift weights to build muscle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keithallenlaw View Post
    My diet takes care of the fat loss. I lift weights to build muscle.
    +1

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